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Jean de Brunhoff image

Jean de Brunhoff (1899–1937)
Histoire de Babar, le petit éléphant (The Story of Babar)
Preliminary design and layout, cover, ca. 1930
Wax crayon and graphite
8 1/4 x 6 1/2 inches (21 x 16 cm)
Gift of Laurent, Mathieu, and Thierry de Brunhoff, and purchased with the assistance of The Florence Gould Foundation and the Acquisitions Fund, Fellows Endowment Fund, Gordon N. Ray Fund, and Heineman Fund, 2004; MA 6304
© Heirs of Jean de Brunhoff
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The Story of Babar, published in French in 1931 as L'histoire de Babar, le petit éléphant, began as a bedtime story de Brunhoff's wife Cécile told their sons. De Brunhoff expanded and illustrated the tale of the baby elephant who is cruelly orphaned, has adventures in civilization, and grows up to be king of all the elephants. The Morgan's collection of Babar material includes de Brunhoff's notes on color for his illustrations, draft text and illustrations in pencil, watercolor studies, and the dummy with the original handwritten text. It records the book's journey from idea to publication.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.